Mordecai Smith Plummer (b. 1798 - d. 1873) MSA SC 5496-2927 Slave Owner, Prince George's County, Maryland
Mordecai Smith Plummer, a Prince George’s County planter, was born in Kentucky on March 17, 1798.On December 20, 1842, he married Susan Waring, the daughter of Col. Henry Waring and Sarah Contee Harrison of Mount Pleasant.Mordecai and Susan had five children together: William Waring (born in 1843), Henry Waring (1844), Mordecai, Jr. (1846), George (1848), and Jemima, nicknamed “Mittie,” (1850).Plummer owned a lot of property in Prince George’s County.The family resided at Spring Hill, a home later destroyed by fire.In addition, Plummer owned Poplar’s Ridge, a plantation in the Queen Anne district, where his slaves lived and worked.Plummer also inherited a small part of Mount Pleasant from his wife’s father.His brother-in-law, Richard Henry Clagett, who was married to Susan’s sister, Grace Harrison Clagett, had inherited the majority of Mount Pleasant from Col. Waring.In the 1850 census, Plummer’s real estate was valued at 61,200 dollars.By the 1860 census, Plummer’s real estate was valued at 120,000 dollars and his personal estate was worth 500,000 dollars.
This substantial increase in Plummer’s assets can be partially explained by the large number of slaves he owned.According to the slave schedule of 1850, Plummer owned 123 slaves.Plummer claimed 146 slaves while applying for reimbursement for freed slaves in 1867.This large number of workers on his plantation shows how slaves added to the earning potential of a plantation like Poplar Ridge.
During his years as a slave owner, Plummer had several slaves run away.William and Isaac Brown escaped from Poplar’s Ridge in October 1849.Plummer may have later recovered William since he paid 300 dollars for a commutation for a “William Brown” who belonged to him and was drafted into the Union Army.Plummer may have also recovered Isaac Brown as he received compensation for freeing someone by that name and approximate age in 1867-8.It is very possible that both men were not recaptured and the William and Isaac Brown who Plummer freed were other men by the same names, as these were common names among Plummer’s slaves.
Thomas Digges escaped from Poplar’s Ridge in May of 1853.Plummer later recovered Digges and freed him after the Civil War.
Frederick Brown escaped from Poplar’s Ridge in May of 1856.Plummer later caught Brown and freed him after the Civil War.
Addison Simmons escaped from Poplar’s Ridge in September of 1856.He was later recovered and freed after the Civil War.
Richard Brown escaped in November 1858.He is most likely the "Dick Brown" who was freed after the Civil War.
Harry Contee escaped from Poplar’s Ridge in March of 1859.Plummer later recovered Contee and freed him after the Civil War.
Shermont and Benjamin Chase escaped from Poplar’s Ridge in June of 1859.Plummer later recovered Shermont, who may have been staying with his wife at Isaac Jones’ in Anne Arundel County.Shermont was freed by Plummer after the Civil War.There is no record of Benjamin Chase being freed by Plummer or anyone else.Benjamin may have escaped permanently or sold after his capture.
Anthony Harris escaped from Poplar’s Ridge in August of 1860.There is no record of Harris being freed by Plummer or anyone else after the Civil War.
Mordecai Smith Plummer died on August 16, 1873.His surviving children, William, Mordecai, George, and Jemima, each inherited an equal portion of his property and real estate.
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